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4 SEPTEMBER 1969 voL 131 No 3838

Edror

Crd.t At bbil Edtor

Arhil.tn tdhor TaHod ldtor tpott Edtor

An Edlor F..turr ldtot

PETER OARTITH LEOITARD AYTOT STUART BI.ADOT GEOFFREY P' HOwAA0., ESclEn$, ,4CGt rI{]IE8 IRELAXD LtOiIEL BUARELL i,lARTli Llwt3

Edho:bl WARREN ALLPOFT

MICHAEL SCARLETT DAVID THOMAS

llldand Edtor U.mhr.t t Ol{lc. 8p.ofl Conrdb.nol'

t .rsdng Dlrttor Edtod.l OltEfot fowARO EV:3 HAROLD HOLT, AMIMI, AMAET

RONALO BARKEN ROGEB flUNTINCTON, EOIN YOUNG lsporri H. fl' PRIAUL)(" A,'Bf,

AS,AE (Oetroit)

TAURTCE A. SilITH, OTC

I

MAIN FEATURES

PAGE

4.IN-1 BOAD TEST COiIPARISOIU BOOKLET: ROVEB 35OO, TRTUMPH 2,5 Pl, VAUXHALL VENTOBA, AUTO UNIOI{ AUDI 1OOLS Loos! ingeil BABS: BESTORING PARBV THOMAS'S RECORD CAR 2 innruos HATcH 14 si,irrrenroN Fsooo !9 nuioiisr: JENSEN lNrERcgProB 22 COMMER AUTO-SLEEPER MOTOR CARAVA]U TEsr 2a TWO"CAB TEST: FOBD CAPRI 2OOOGT AIUD suugeaM RAPIER H120 34 iiisonar- EXPoRT: E-wPE JAGUAR To usA ru'! bEtEioprnc Dtsc BBAKE PAD MATERIAL 4i2 SOME NEW CAR RELEASES: POBSCHE, vrai-ponscHE, cHEvRoLET, oPEL, mERCEDES &

REGULAR ITEMS DrscoNNEcTED JOTTIIIGS

THE SPORT

siinrcxr FRoM THE GBlo uiws AND vlEws

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

CORRESPONDENCE

NEW CAR PRTCES last pogos belore back covev q

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hIEXT WEEK'S ISSUE FEATURES 49

Pub[shed by ILIFFE TRANSPOAI PUBLICATI-ONS Lm" Ooet.H1*' !-9F"" ::::: London s.E. t ltetephone: oi-ozb- ii:i' fe},gi'ns: rt"tj Adut lliflt'sr '26137 Londonl. BnANCH OFFICEST Cov6ntry. 8-tO Co.p*rtio.strqd /frbp'@j C6lt't!Y 25210); Bi'min0h6n. aor r-vnro nluoli' walell R@d Blmioghom' 22ttttbM:O21 Birchfiold 4838), frelex. rrnores, irmingham 338080)' Mirchortcr' ql'lEm Hqf'f T€lbot Rood, Stro*o,a Mancr'lsiet r*sz Oig' lfalephooo: 06t-872 42t1)"Ololoil' 2'3-' ctairmont Garcl6ns. o,"*n* [.i.'r"Li"i'' ooi si.? 3,7s2i .o41'322 aooi]' o4rof'- ii?iL.i"r, Hri,o. e',*orilt"ipTone, Eriilol2l49l 2/3) subscriptlonr!lr3:Hot!o'-tvolt .

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THE MOUNTBATTEN WAY It ,t ORE THAN a year has passed since the firstSR'N4 l\rl Mountbatten Class hovercraft went into service on ! Y I the Dover-Boulogne crossing with British Rail' An alternative route was added this year by Hoverlloyd' operating from Ramsgate to Calais. Various members of Aurocln staff have used one or both routes on journeys to the Continent, and have unanimous praise for the hovercraft' if not for the service.

It is quick-almost as quick as the air ferry-and the high speed iravel over the water is invigorating' The drive-on loading is less drawn out than on some of the ships because of the reduced numbers, and there is easier access from car deck to travelling accommodation. Hoverlloyd have the ,ar.ntrg" of well siied terminals each side of the Channel' Howevei, these early days leave ample scopefor refinement of the services.

Our sister journal Air Cushion Vehicles suggests that once skirt reliability problems have been solved, much morework can be done-io improve suspension and give a better ride on a bad sea. Already a big improvement has been achieved' compared with that first demonstration run in July last year' For anyone prone to travel sickness the best position is towards the front, and the worst is in the inner compartments where there are no windows. We regret the choice of the standard craft, carrying 254 passengers and 30 cars' in place of the basic layout in which this midships area is not used for seating, and gives space for at least four more cars' On a recent bai sea ciossing those in the inner compartments had a rough time and manY were ill.

Thi-s leads to the next thought that hovercraft operators must decide whether they want to operate a vehicle ferry or rides for day trippers. For trippers the all-passenger craft' carrying 609 people, would seem ideal forfuture operations' Lirlnf,tr," vehicie craft available for motorists' Surely it is reasoriable also that motorists, who are probably paying four or five times as much, should have seats reserved forthem instead of finding they are last to get on board and haveto take whatever seats are left? Ship car-ferry operators might also consider this point seriously.

Other small problems are exhaust fumes from the turbines when loading, and the need for coach-type wiperslo clear spray,atlea-stfromthefrontwindows'Terminalfacilities hava still to be developed, to provide proper restaurants and duty-free shops.

Finally comes reliability, and in our experience you cannot' so far, depend on it. Teething troubles are understandable' but we suspect operators are too ready to cancel one half-booked'schedule and merge it with the next' The operators tell us. however, that they have a 94 per cent reliability record, taking all factors (weather' mechanical breakdowns ard so on) into consideration'

in"r" is still a lot of novelty value in skimming across' but when it wears off this new form of ferry will develop orfail on its efficiency and the service offered to motorists'